It seems to me that unless there is advertising of some sort that all the shows that people watch will go away. Last time I checked production costs for TV shows still existed...so someone tell me how you constantly make everything accessible (for free) without commercials. Pretty soon there will be no network TV and it will all be accessible via Netflix, Roku, etc. Golly gee, Netflix, et al, are pay models.
LightSquared should be relegated to the bin labeled "FCC Mishaps" and the conversation should turn to what to do from here to ensure better and cheaper broadband.
What needs to be looked at is what might be available by allowing broadcasters the right to broadcast using a different modulation scheme than ATSC and one that would fit seamlessly with today's wireless networks. A broadcast overlay would eliminate the video congestion present today and allow video congestion to be non-existent.
And the real question is this; isn't it quicker, better, cheaper to allow deregulation to take the place of auctions, for auctions will surely be a long, drawn-out process. Deregulation allows broadcasters to experiment with different modulation schemes, schemes that can be designed to work seamlessly with existing wireless modulation. If the government wants to extract its pound of flesh, allow the following; 1) B'casters pay a 5% ancillary revenue fee (already in place) for anything beyond basic broadcasting, such as spectrum leasing to wireless carriers 2) allow for a one-time fee to be paid to the government when a station's spectrum usage rights are purchased by a wireless carrier, 3) maybe even increase ancillary revenue fee to 7-10% when spectrum is leased to a wireless carrier.
A plan of this sort would enable spectrum availability for wireless carriers while still maintaining a free OTA TV service. If a wireless carrier came to me and said that it wanted to lease my excess spectrum I would jump at the opportunity; the wireless carrier gets its much-needed spectrum and I am able to subsidize my free OTA TV station while eliminating wireless data usage penalties...sounds like a winner to me.
The problem though is one of architecture...Wireless as it is currently configured is a one-to-one delivery, as opposed to broadcasting which is a one-to-many delivery. A lot of the network congestion would go away if wireless carriers implemented a one-to-many overlay with their current architecture, which is what they could do today if so inclined and what they will surely do with auction spectrum. But why go through a protracted battle—broadcasters would be willing to work with wireless carriers on a broadcast overlay plan and have offered to do so repeatedly. Another thing is that ancillary revenues bring in many more billions over a twenty year period than a one time auction (auction proceeds remain nebulous, probably no more than $6B to the Treasury).
You have to ask this; what happens after an auction and the wireless carriers don't have any more spectrum to go after? What they will do is become more efficient, which is what they could do today...people really need to start asking the right questions. Move beyond the failed LightSquared experiment and move on to more pressing needs, which is ubiquitous broadband at an affordable price.
The problem was the FCC put this thing on the fast track without conducting engineering studies first, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation.
The writer laments that LightSquared won't be a much-needed competitor to the entrenched wireless operators and on that he is right. However, Charlie Ergen, if I am not mistaken, plans to put into play a network very similar to the planned LightSquared network, the big difference is that Ergen has 700 MHz spectrum that he can pair with his satellite spectrum.
If LightSquared had been smart they would have pushed for deregulation of the TV band, that same spectrum now slated for auction. They could have leased excess spectrum from broadcasters and had a two-way network. Now, the FCC will go through five years of court challenges before realizing that the National Broadband Plan is a bust and that auctions aren't going to work, mainly due to extreme spectrum congestion along the Eastern Seaboard states areas. Years in the future we will still be having the same conversation, while all it would have taken is deregulation. TV broadcasters can put into effect a broadcast overlay scheme, which would fit seamlessly with existing wireless networks, alleviating the network congestion caused by video consumption via iPhones. This plan would be quicker, better, cheaper and allow consumers to not have to worry about data usage plans...just sayin'.
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